Verstappen splits Mercedes duo in final practice


Lewis Hamilton went fastest for the second time in three practice sessions as the defending Formula One world champion looked to make his mark on the Malaysia Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver had gone quickest in FP2 on Friday, and repeated the feat ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

His team-mate and standings leader Nico Rosberg had topped the timesheets in FP1 in Kuala Lumpur but could only manage third fastest on Saturday, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen splitting the pair.

Verstappen was 0.445 seconds adrift of Hamilton, with Rosberg 0.619 back. The Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were fourth and fifth, while Verstappen's team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was sixth.

Since the mid-season break, Rosberg has won all three races to regain the championship lead, while Hamilton will hope to repeat the pole he claimed last year, although that only led to a second-placed finish as Vettel topped the podium.